By Schalk Burger – Director at Supply Chain Partner
Under strain from a near-stagnant economy and on-going challenges with electricity supply, South Africa’s mining sector is under immense pressure to develop new strategies for greater productivity and improved employee spend management. But for many, managing business costs still depends on onerous, time-consuming, and often-outdated processes.
Automating slow, manual processes
Imagine the effort of finance teams having to wade through mountains of paper receipts and capturing spend items on an unwieldy spreadsheet. Then, picture a CFO or Financial Director trying to make informed business decisions based on that data in order to drive the organisation forward.
An impossible task. Considering the growing complexity of doing business as a result of the current COVID-landscape and the steady increase in the remote working mandate, relying on slow legacy processes just won’t provide organisations the agility that they need to be competitive.
Leading global organisations are increasingly looking for solutions to ease and fully automate much of the labour-intensive reporting required by finance departments. Powerful cloud-based platforms have emerged that give finance teams real-time, dynamic visibility of spend before, during and after a trip.
Intelligent spend management is a fairly new business discipline that aims to provide the mining industry, as well as forward thinking organisations, total control over each spend category - travel, procurement, supply chain - backed by the ability to control and manage spend and processes across categories. Finance teams can gain real-time visibility and control over various spend categories and can build company policies into each category in order to ease compliance and minimise risk.
The best intelligent spend management platforms also provide access to an ecosystem of global partners, including a constant stream of innovations that unlock greater productivity and cost-savings over manual processes.
Cost, complexity and customer experience
With the growing complexity of business, companies are increasingly looking for solutions that can ease and automate paper-based processes and free-up valuable internal resources for more high-value work – all while gaining full visibility over all expenses.
The rise of the Experience Economy is another factor driving uptake of dynamic and mobile enabled employee spend management solutions. It’s no longer enough to purely focus on the external customer experience. Organisations can empower employees with easy and intuitive self-service solutions that are accessible wherever they go and cut down on policies and lengthy admin processes.
Dynamic company policy compliance
Managing the cost of employee expense claims is one part of the challenge, but enforcing company policy is increasingly critical and often very difficult to do in a way that meets the expectations of both the company and the employee. In one survey (is there any way that we can reference the exact survey?), more than half of employees admitted to not always following company policy when claiming expenses.
An intelligent employee spend management platform should enable companies to build their expense claim policies directly into the solution. Corporate and regulatory compliance is managed at the point of impact as opposed to retrospectively. This not only creates a culture of accountability, but also streamlines the claim process and frees-up internal audit resources to focus on more high-value work instead of manually approving or rejecting each claim.
It is vital for companies that adopt innovative digital solutions to ensure adequate change management. In many cases, using a solution such as SAP Concur marks the company’s first foray into using cloud-based services. Mobilizing end-users to trust and use the cloud solution can be challenging. A well-thought-out change management programme can lay the foundation to moving the entire business into a cloud-based future, with clear benefits to productivity and efficiency.
Research shows that the best-performing mining companies are the most profitable as a result of successfully adopting new technologies in order to streamline their operations more efficiently. This is the future of mining.